Thursday, April 8, 2010

...ists and ...isms

It seems that a lot of people are confused about what form of government and its corresponding economic engine works best to provide the greatest amount of prosperity and freedom. The United States has historically called itself capitalistic and based on free market economic principles. However the past 90 or so years we have been on a steady course away from these principles and though the rhetoric is still there the practice is long gone. To the point in fact, that a lot of people don't really even know what they are talking about when they use the terms capitalism, socialism, fascism, communism etc. I think that some of this confusion comes from America calling themselves capitalists and acting like socialists. China calls themselves communists and acts more like capitalists, more so than America a lot of the time.

One of my biggest concerns is that people don't really know what the end result of driving straight towards socialism means. Our last 4 or so presidents have been especially confusing regarding the mixing of -ists and - isms. W. Bush for example, in his bailout speech was saying things like the influx of cash was necessary to preserve capitalism and that the use of free market principles would ensure that America remained prosperous - while at the same time throwing all caution to the wind, abandoning all free market principles and running headlong toward the nationalization of major industries and markets. Some less informed individuals believed him when he said he was acting as a capitalist, when in fact he was doing the very opposite of his rhetoric.

Because of things like this you have people like Michael Moore calling government favoritism toward major corporations capitalism when it is fascism - as defined by Benito Mussolini.

There is the free market, acting freely and then there is everything else. Anything that is not the free market without government intervention undermines freedom. There is no other way around it. And, often times the abandonment of the free market leads to totalitarianism. Without the free market acting freely there must be some body or central planner that then attempts to make what they deem to be the correct decisions for the market. This leads to what Bastiat called "legal plunder" and what FA Hayek outlined in his nobel prize winning work and book The Road to Serfdom. Whats more is that often times the do gooders who hi-jack the markets to make them operate the way they see fit often doing only damage to their pet causes. The free market, being free, without government intervention, except for the enforcement of contracts, will provide the most prosperous and most charitable society the world has every known. America has done it in fits and starts but we are so far removed from that now that it would take a complete revolution to undo it all. What we have now is not capitalism in any way. We act because we are coerced or compelled by the men with guns to do what they would have us do and the way they would have us do it. It's like I've said before, try and do something that is not the government's way of doing it and it will only be a matter of time before the men with guns show up to take away the rest of what you have - namely your life, liberty and happiness.

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